We rely on batteries every day; here’s how to keep them healthy

By Jean-Jacques DeLisle,
contributing writer

Batteries
are a huge part of life in the modern world. There’s no doubt about it — every one of us relies on
them on a daily basis, from our cars to our cell phones and everything in
between. Considering how important batteries are in our lives, it’s surprising
that most of us are unaware of how to properly store and care for them. That being
said, we’ve put together a short list of tips and tricks to help you get the
most out of your batteries. 

Image source: Pixabay.

It’s
a common myth that putting your batteries in the freezer can make them last
longer, and many of us can remember tossing a few dead AAs in the freezer to
get a few more minutes of play from our Gameboys. This is, however, just a
myth, and is actually somewhat dangerous. The change in temperature can be
harmful to many batteries, causing the liquids within to expand or contract and
damage the seals to the batteries which could cause leaks of harmful
substances. 

 

The
two main types of batteries are lithium and alkaline and knowing the difference
between them could help you get the most out of your batteries. Lithium batteries are meant to be recharged
and are found in cell phones and other devices. These batteries are high
performance and are designed to handle multiple charges and release energy
slowly. Rechargeable lithium AA and AAA batteries can also be purchased and are
an environmentally-friendly option.

Alkaline
batteries are the most commonly bought batteries and are the type you might
have in your TV remote. They’re cheaper and more economical but they cannot be
recharged and are therefore better suited for jobs with low power demands, or
for devices that are only occasionally used.

 

Battery
storage is important if you want to get the maximum life out of your batteries.
Many businesses lose out on much of the potential life of their batteries due
to improper storage. Keeping batteries in their original packaging is a good
way to keep them clean and away from other metal objects which could
potentially cause them to discharge some of their stored energy. It’s best to
store batteries at room temperature and away from heat, as temperature
fluctuations can reduce the performance of some batteries and can create
harmful leaks. If stored at room temperature, cylindrical alkaline batteries
have a shelf life of approximately five years. Cylinder carbon batteries last
about two years. Lithium cylinder types can be stored between 10 -15 years.

 

Corrosion
and dirt on a battery terminal can greatly reduce its ability to transfer
energy making them much less efficient. To clean a battery, use rubbing alcohol
and a cotton swab, and let the battery dry completely before use. Keeping your
batteries clean can greatly increase their lifespan, letting you get the most
bang for your buck.

 

Old
batteries should not be disposed of in the garbage because they contain many harmful
chemicals and should instead be recycled. Many recycling centers accept
batteries and may even pay you for larger ones. It’s important to keep
batteries out of the environment and recycling is a great way to do that. The
website Earth911 can provide you with a list of recycling centers
near you.

 

Installing
a battery only to find out it’s dead is both frustrating and a waste of time. In order to avoid this, new batteries should be tested prior to installation. In
order to test a battery, you’ll need a tester, and fortunately, most battery testers are inexpensive and can be purchased at any hardware store. By making
sure your batteries are in proper working order before you install them, you’ll not only save yourself time but also some money. 

Do you have any battery tips? Leave a comment below.